The EU Commission's criteria for awarding the Ecolabel to textile products, announced recently, include restrictions on hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing process. To get this label, manufacturers will have to ensure that products and production recipes do not contain hazardous substances listed in the restricted substance list (RSL) at, or above, the specified concentration limits, or according to the specified restrictions.
They are required to put together their own individual RSL, which covers any regulatory or preferential list of unwanted substances. This will also have to specify the verification and testing requirements for each production stage and for the final product. The list must be sent out to suppliers and agents responsible for the spinning, dyeing, printing and finishing stages of production, who must comply with it.
In addition, where required, laboratory testing based on random sampling must be carried out for each product line. The Ecolabel criteria say that testing must be carried out annually during the license period in order to demonstrate ongoing compliance with the RSL. The criteria also state that final products must not contain substances of very high concern (SVHC), or those on the candidate list. Along with chemical management criteria, Ecolabel also covers recycled content, energy efficiency and water management.